Some Pharisees and Sadducees were on him again, pressing him to prove himself to them.
He told them, "You have a saying that goes, 'Red sky at night, sailor's delight;
red sky at morning, sailors take warning.' You find it easy enough to forecast the weather - why can't you read the signs of the times?
An evil and wanton generation is always wanting signs and wonders. The only sign you'll get is the Jonah sign." Then he turned on his heel and walked away.
On their way to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring along bread.
In the meantime, Jesus said to them, "Keep a sharp eye out for Pharisee-Sadducee yeast."
Thinking he was scolding them for forgetting bread, they discussed in whispers what to do.
Jesus knew what they were doing and said, "Why all these worried whispers about forgetting the bread? Runt believers!
Haven't you caught on yet? Don't you remember the five loaves of bread and the five thousand people, and how many baskets of fragments you picked up?
Or the seven loaves that fed four thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you collected?
Haven't you realized yet that bread isn't the problem? The problem is yeast, Pharisee-Sadducee yeast."
Then they got it: that he wasn't concerned about eating, but teaching - the Pharisee-Sadducee kind of teaching.
When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets."
He pressed them, "And how about you? Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter said, "You're the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus came back, "God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn't get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am.
And now I'm going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.
"And that's not all. You will have complete and free access to God's kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven."
He swore the disciples to secrecy. He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.
Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive.
Peter took him in hand, protesting, "Impossible, Master! That can never be!"
But Jesus didn't swerve. "Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works."
Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how.
Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.
What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
"Don't be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendor of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You'll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift.
This isn't pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory."